Exclusive, extraordinary and for sale. These are the homes that just have to be seen – so we've hunted them down for a fascinating and very private view.
This week: 6, Southside Common, Wimbledon, SW London
What: A recently renovated but relatively modest three bedroom house overlooking Wimbledon bulging with history.
We say: It looks like many other pretty Wimbledon property but it’s where famous anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce once paced, debating with William Pitt the injustices of 17th century Britain, and the wider world.
If you miss the shiny blue plaque on the wall at 6 Southside Common, there are a few clues in the neighbourhood that someone rather important once lived in the area. Dotted across Wimbledon are a host of places named after him, including a school and a nursing home.
But perhaps the biggest clue is the street sign - "Wilberforce Way" - around the corner from this 360-year-old century stone cottage.
Where owner Nick Hart sits reading the newspaper over a cup of tea, famous anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce once paced, debating with William Pitt the injustices of 17th century Britain, and the wider world. For here, in a house owned by his uncle, used to live the young MP. It's a fascinating thought, but one not immediately apparent as I cast my eye over the recently-renovated interior.
A closer look, however, revealed remarkable history from almost every corner. The door to the bathroom, with its jail-like lock, was there when the house was built. The same goes for the toilet and front doors. Where the original features either no longer existed or needed to be replaced, Nick, a chartered surveyor, spared little expense sourcing materials from centuries past.
The floor of the lounge, to the left, is made from 17th century French oak, while the kitchen floor was taken from a limestone church, also in France. "I bought the house three or four years ago and was never going to sell it - but then I got married," says the 39-year-old.
"I effectively sourced on weekends over three years materials going back 100 to 400 years to make sure any renovations that weren't original looked like they were." It was clearly a labour of love. The windows were hand-made from hardwood, and even the brass light socket switches were made from hand. Meanwhile, Nick had hinges on the mews-style garage doors specially smelted at a 200-year-old factory.
While the ground floor feels compact, a stronger impression of space emerges after climbing the stairs. I stop to gaze out across Wimbledon Common and Rushmere Pond - a countryside vista in this pocket of south-west London. The rural effect is enhanced by the clip-clopping horses occasionally heard emerging from the nearby stables.
The two main bedrooms are light and roomy, while a smaller third bedroom functions equally well as a study. And from a hatch in the roof, a rather neat wooden ladder folds down to give access to the loft. This could also be used as an office, although the flatscreen TV mounted on the wall suggests more leisurely pursuits.
With a guide price of £1,695,000, this property offers comfort and luxury, as well as history. It's also just a little bit quirky. The building was once saved from demolition by one Arthur Whitehead, who bought it in the 1950s. A generous sort, he invited a small group of war veterans who ran on the common to change in the cottage. To this day, Lauriston Running Club is based next door.
A closer look revealed remarkable history from almost every corner.